What You Need to Know about How to Get More App Downloads

group of young people on mobile devices finding out how to get more app downloads You built an amazing app that actually simplifies users’ lives. Check! You made the app available on the top app stores for a wide range of mobile devices. Check! Now you can sit back and wait for the downloads to roll in … just kidding. After an initial launch, it is tempting to set your app live and forget it, but if you want to really drive app installs, you need to continue to innovate your search campaign so that users can find your app. The newest trick for how to get more app downloads is through Google’s Universal App campaign (UAC). Today, 50% of all app installs come from UACs, which means if you aren’t onboard with them already, you’re missing out! If you are new to search campaigns or if you just need to get up to speed on the latest search tech, I’ve got you covered with a few tidbits I’ve learned about how to get more app downloads with UACs.


App stores are increasingly crowded, making it more challenging than ever for marketers to get their app noticed at a mass scale. When Google’s app install campaign initially launched for AdWords, app developers and businesses could get the word out through search and YouTube networks for users to download. In-app activity goals could also be set, which was key since most users will download an app but won’t maintain engagement with it over time. In more recent years, Google launched Universal App campaigns, which make it even easier to promote apps and enable promotions across the whole suite of Google products: search, display, YouTube, AdMob and Google Play Networks. UACs advertise your app on all four platforms at once, helping you spend smarter, increase reach and optimize effectively by pooling together your entire budget rather than slicing it into pieces as it would be if you ran four separate campaigns. With the success of UACs, Google is moving all app-install ads under its umbrella this fall. So if you haven’t made the move yet, now is the time.


If you are a developer or a business who wants to promote your app on a mass scale, here is how to get more app downloads using Universal App campaign ads. What you need:

  • A few lines of ad copy, up to 10 images or up to 5 YouTube videos of your app
  • A budget and starting bid for your ads
  • Geo and language targeting parameters
  • The in-app activity or installation goal you want to optimize toward

With these assets, Google develops ads automatically based on the network your ad delivers on and optimizes with the aim of maximizing your cost-per-install or cost-per-activity goal. This creates a great advantage for small businesses who aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of campaign setup and don’t have the bandwidth for campaign optimization. The true power of Universal App campaigns lies in their ability to reach users not only when they are actively searching for apps but also when they are engaging with similar apps and when they are just browsing. This variety of ad formats used to promote your message means you can promote your app everywhere.


Sounds great, but don’t just take my word for it! A lot of businesses have learned how to get more app downloads from their search campaigns and seen great success. At Goodway Group, we recently used a Universal App campaign to promote an app for a medical clinic that enabled users to schedule in-house doctor visits. The campaign produced 300 app installs, beating the original goal of 200 installs, with each install costing less than 20% of the cost of a patient visit. This campaign showcased how universal app campaign strategies can be cost-effective for driving more mobile app downloads and require next to nothing in terms of maintenance time. Another great use case for Universal App campaigns is restaurant apps that allow customers to order deliveries and to-go items through their app. Whether you are a restaurant, medical clinic or a large business, if an app is core to your offering, universal app campaigns are a hassle-free, no-brainer solution. You won’t have to worry about setting up different campaigns for different platforms or need to think about optimization strategies to better your campaign. Instead you can use the results from the campaign to fine-tune your app to make sure users are engaging with it on a consistent basis, which really is the ultimate goal. Ready to take your mobile app downloads to the next level? Reach out to us to learn more about how to get more app downloads from your search campaigns.